Unlimited paid time-off. A boon or an accounting trick?

Be wary of companies offering paid time off.

This is coming from someone who has worked at a company having this policy. Before it, we had traditional 24 days paid time off policy and people used to take all of it. After this unlimited paid time off came about, people ended up taking lesser PTO, since it was subject to management's approval. Taking a month off was scoffed at by the management, and they unfortunately used this policy to their advantage and forcing people to work more than earlier.

So whenever you guys join a org having this policy, inquire enough about how they implement the unlimited PTO policy. Do they have a roster within a team, so sufficient people are available in case something needs to be looked at or to have a minimum working capacity? Whose approval you need for it? Inquire enough about this policy and their implementation, until you get the idea, and do ask the engineers interviewing you about how they feel about the policy.

Sure, there is a good chance they could gaslight you, but there is always a chance that you get a red flag from doing this. Sure there will be companies where this would be great. However, in many companies, this policy is nightmare for employees, so be wary of it.

In short, it depends on the management and their handling of this. It can be a great benefit to have or can be used to lessen paid leaves and force employees to work for more days per year.

Importantly, it's also an accounting trick. ​PTO is carried as a liability on the balance sheet and has to be paid out when an employee leaves. Unlimited PTO has none of these issues and it's actually limited in the real world

Anyone currently working in an org having this policy, please share your experiences.

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